If, like the majority of our readers, you’re inerested in Music’s future just as much as you’re interested in it’s present or past, then it’s worth stopping for a moment to consider how, and where, that future is being formed.
it’s also worth considering what part we must all play in the responsibility of nurturing and developing today’s music talent.
The failure of us to do this, surely, will see the continued rise of infantialsied, manufactured, garbage and an environment where we spend our time looking back at our favourite music, rather than looking forward.
One team who are taking the responsibility of the future of music very seriously are gateshead’s AMS (academy of music and sound).
Based on the premises that to produce excellent music you need excellent music professionals, the AMS is fast becoming the place to go for aspiring musicians, producers and professionals with it’s unique learning enviornment and approach to development.
Offering a range of courses including BTec’s, Foundation degrees and BA top ups, Part of the uniqueness of the Ams can be demonstrated through the world-class musical legacy of their teaching team. With Current teaching staff including Dan Donnelly (‘The wonder stuff’), barry hyde (‘The Futureheads’) and Micky Crystal (‘Tygers of pan tang) the AMS offers an insight into the realities of the music industry, and music production, that is hard to compete with.
To find out more about the Academy, and it’s approach to development, we caught up with the Academy’s North East Manager Dan Donnelly.
NE: Hi Dan, what makes the AMS Such a special learning environments for music professionals?
Dan: first and foremost it’s the staff. The staff are all established musicians. it’s not like school, where you are taught by some dude who’s been to teacher training telling you how to succeed in the music industry. Everyone who works at the academy are actual musicians who have worked in the industry.
NE: And these experiences help the students by providing an insight into the reality of the industry?
Yeah, exactly. we’ve all released recrods, been on tv and toured the world. we’re all out there doing it. currently our guitar teacher is in hamburg gigging and last weekend i was in hamburg. We aren’t teachers from an academic background we are a high standrad of teachers who come from an industry background.
NE: That must create an incredibly powerful learning environment?
Yeah One of the real benefits for the students is to hang out with musicians who are actually doing the things that they want to do in the future. it often means that on a Monday morning we’re talking with the students about where we’ve all played at the weekend. Or the students will come to us with record deals and management deals and we can talk to them honestly about what they mean and offer some gudiance around what to do. it helps that we have STRONG INDUSTRY contacts, which you won’t get anywhere else
NE: Wow, that must prove incredibley development to students about the music industry. what about their music development?
Again, it starts with the members of staff and their exerience. A student may want to discuss what type of pickups the member of staff uses in a live environment, or what type of amp they have, or how the sound of music can change in large venues.
In other cases, some of our classes will be SMALL in size so students may have just themselves, Barry and 2 others sitting in an envronment where barry will take their songs, and pull them apart and put them back togetehr- It’s individual attention from a world class songwriter.
NE: It sounds like there’s a level of specialism that will be hard to be found anywhere else.
What future do you see for the Academy?
ideally want i want is that the students who are here today will succeed in the industry and come back in the future to pass on their knowledge and experience..
One band who formed here, Fletcher jackson, they’re signed to jake buggs management and they’re starting to do really well. other bands have been to VIetnam and LA recently to record. It would be great if they could go out, be a real success, then bring that knowledge back home for future students.
NE: So if I was interested in being in the music industry I’d be licking my lips and wanting to sign up straight away. How would someone go about that?
Traditionally, we don’t look for Grades, or GCSE’ss. We tend to look for students to come and audition. If we feel that there is potential, and there is space, we will take them. There’s no open days or set auditin days and we rely on students approaching us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org